Real Estate

This is an activity that is purposely done to misrepresent information on real estate documents. It also involves the money transfers. It is also called mortgage fraud. The reason that it is referred to as this is that the fraud generally takes place with the mortgage application. Real estate fraud, in the United States, can have heavy penalties like imprisonment and large fines.

Such a crime can be committed in many different ways. It appears to happen more often when property prices are on the rise. Because of the simplicity of the fraud, some types are seen more than other frauds. Some are not as common because they are more complicated. One of the common forms of such fraud, according to the IRS is preparing two settlement statement sets that are different from each other. In one of the statements, the accurate property-selling price is written, which the buyer receives. The other one will depict a higher selling price that is exaggerated. When the mortgage lender approves the loan for the exaggerated price, the seller is given the amount that is stated in their copy of the settlement statement. The one who committed the fraudulent settlement statements will keep the money that is left over. If there are other conspirators, the money will be divided among them. It could be the entire excess money or a percentage of it.

Using qualification that are fraudulent is another type of real estate fraud. These fraudulent qualifications are used when applying for a mortgage or home loan to help them get the mortgage. In this form of real estate fraud, the real estate agent will usually assist the buyer. The fraudulent qualifications can include fabricating credit reports or history of employment. These two involve the obvious misrepresentation of data but not all real estate fraud is easy to see as these two examples. If buyers who do not intend to commit real estate fraud because they do not know the laws can accidentally commit mortgage fraud.

If a buyer has a down payment by using money that was given as a gift it is legal. If this gift is re-paid to the who gave the gift, this is considered a case of real estate fraud. The gift used to make a down payment cannot be repaid for it to be legal. Another type of property fraud is when the buyer accidentally fails to disclose any financial liabilities on their mortgage application. It becomes fraud when it is not taken care of before the loan is approved. Property flipping can become real estate fraud if you make false representations about the value and condition of the property when you sell it for a much higher price than you paid for the property.

Real Estate

If you are a builder or Fix and Flipper, you have undoubtedly thought about whether or not to outsource the General Contractor role on your projects. The obvious benefit to not hiring a General Contractor is the money you will save, but what is the cost to save that money?

A General Contractor is someone that will oversee your project. They will manage all the subcontractors and help get you to the finish line. They are generally not as skilled at specific tasks, like plumbing or electrical, but might be more organized and should understand the basics of the entire project.

BENEFITS OF ACTING AS YOUR OWN GENERAL CONTRACTOR

In most cities you will be allowed to act as your own as long as it is a smaller job or you hire and manage licensed subcontractors. General contractors will want to be paid for the value they bring to your project so if you choose not to hire one, that savings will go directly to the bottom line. Paying less for the rehab could mean more profit for you.

Another benefit of acting as your own is the experience you will gain. As a real estate investor, it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of what it takes to rehab a house. This will help you with future projects or come in handy if you ever hire a bad contractor.

Finally, if you don’t have one in the way, you will be in much more control. Not saying it would happen, but I could see when there might be a time when you end up with a bad one. Getting a General Contractor off the job is not easy. They could have their crews working and they might owe their subs money. Dealing directly with the subs actually doing the work is often times much easier.

BENEFITS OF HIRING A GENERAL CONTRACTOR

Although I am acting as a co-General Contractor for a house I am building for my girls and I, I am a big believer in using one on your projects. This becomes especially true as you grow as a real estate investor. It is extremely hard to scale your investing business if you are working in it, so anything you can shift to someone else while still making a profit will help you grow. Aside from shifting the workload, here are some other reasons why you might consider paying for a General Contractor:

They understand building code and can ensure work is done according to that code.

If you have a good one, you will save money on your holding costs because they know how to complete a job in an efficient manner.

It is a great way to shift liability. If something is not done correctly, you can shift that responsibility to the General Contractor or their insurance. They should also manage any warranty issues.

They could actually save you money, because often times they have good relationships with subcontractors and get preferred pricing. This could be true with material suppliers as well.

Although I think it is best for most investors to hire one, there are good arguments either way. It is not a terrible idea to go through some deals without help so you can learn the process. That is exactly why I decided to take on that role with my new home. It also might come down to how much time you have and your ability to do the job. Most investors can handle smaller jobs without the help of oner. Experienced investors can likely handle even large jobs without any help. If you have the time and want to maximize profits, I can see you taking on the role, but if you are limited on time or are more interested in growing, you probably want help.

Real Estate

One question that every homeowner is faced with when buying a new home is whether or not they should get home warranty coverage. Well, there are plenty of things that factor into making that decision, but most people would agree that having coverage is well worth the cost.

For those of you new to warranties, basically it’s a type of “insurance” the provides coverage for major systems and appliances in your home. For example, lets just say you have a built-in dishwasher that is causing you problems. You can either pay to get it fixed, or depending on the condition of it, you may end up getting a new one. But having warranty coverage enables you to get it fixed or replaced at a fraction of the cost.

Also, most providers have a network of companies they are affiliated with who provides consumers with the replacement parts or repairs. So it eliminates the hassle of trying to find a reputable repair company. It may not seem like a big deal, but every day people spend countless of hours trying to find a company that has good reviews and have a decent price. And having warranty coverage provides you with top notch contractors and at a low price.

As for the cost of coverage, well that usually falls within the range of about $30 to $100 a month depending on the type of coverage you need. Now, for some new home buyers, adding another bill to the list of bills they already have may seem unnecessary, but when you think about how much it cost to repair certain things around your home, you quickly realize that having warranty coverage is the best option.

This is an important aspect to keep in mind, because the last thing you would want to do is have to pay a huge bill to get something repaired and have to dip into your savings to do so.

And lastly, while having coverage is important, as I stated earlier, some people may not need it. Those of you with mostly modern appliances on your home, most of the appliances may be covered under the manufacturer warranty already. But if you have an older home with outdated appliances, you definitely want to at least contact some warranty companies to see how much it would cost you for coverage.

Real Estate

This tends to be a pretty controversial subject, and for good reason. When I was getting started in the business, I was young and broke and had no credit to speak of. I was not qualified to borrow money, yet I figured out how to buy properties, and I bought a lot of them. It was not long before I became a full time real estate investor, and on paper, I was a millionaire long before my 30th birthday. I accomplished this with a lot of hard work, education and tolerance to take the risk.

With all this said, just because you don’t need money to buy houses, does not mean you should have no money. I am a big, big believer in this. You see, although I was a millionaire at a young age, I basically lost it all when the market shifted. I was too aggressive with my growth, and did not establish an appropriate amount of reserves. After starting over, I structured things differently and am in a good position to not only survive a down turn, but to thrive in it. In this article, I will briefly walk through 4 ways to buy rentals with nothing out of pocket, but want you to understand that this does not mean you should own rentals with no reserves.

Owner Finance: This could mean many things, but for the purposes of this article I am going to assume that the seller of the home is extremely motivated and is willing to basically sell the house just to get away from the mortgage payments. This is commonly referred to as a subject-to transaction because you, as the buyer, will take title subject-to any other liens that are in place. What this means is you get ownership of the house, but the seller is still on the hook for the loan. You as the buyer will agree to either pay off the loan or make payments on the loan on their behalf. If you don’t, the lender can foreclose and wipe you off of title.

The seller is taking a tremendous amount of risk with this type of transaction, so it is difficult to negotiate and they need to be extremely motivated. It works well for you because you don’t need down payments or to qualify for a loan. It works for them because they have someone else making the payments on their loan, which relieves them of the payment pressure, and potentially can improve their credit. As you become more experienced, this is a strategy you will want to look into. This allows you to purchase an unlimited number of cash flowing properties without ever needing to qualify or sign for a loan.

Lease Options: This is the strategy that really worked for me when I was just getting started. I like it a lot because it is easy to explain to the seller and it is not difficult to get them comfortable with it. They still need to be motivated to want to do this, but nothing like the subject-to transactions.

The way this works is you negotiate with a seller of a home to lease the property for a set period of time. I would typically negotiate 10 years on these, but it can be anything you are comfortable with. The rent amount will be set. From there you agree on a price to buy the property for sometime during the lease term. The price is typically locked in close to today’s value. You then sublease the property, hopefully for more than your rent payment, and wait for the value to increase. If the value does not increase, which has happened to me, you can either re-negotiate the deal or let the property go. You have no obligation to buy, so you are not taking the risk of market fluctuation. If and when the value does increase you have several options: You can sell your option, exercise your option and resell the house for your profit, or just exercise the option and keep the property in your portfolio.

Bridge Loans: The idea here is to find a property that needs a lot of work that will make a good rental. You need to negotiate a price were you can buy it, fix it, and roll in all closing costs, and still be at or below 70% of the after repaired value (ARV). This does not work well unless the property needs to be repaired. This is very different than the first two strategies discussed, and is commonly used with bank owned foreclosures. Although, anytime you can negotiate a great deal will work.

After you purchase the home, you want to get it repaired and get a tenant in place as quickly as possible. You then refinance the loan into your permanent rental property loan. There are some additional details for this to work that are beyond the scope of this article.

Partners: At the time the market was collapsing around me, there were tremendous buying opportunities everywhere. Using the Bridge loan strategy, I was able to pick up a handful of deals that I still have today. I did not qualify for loans, so I brought in a partner to sign on the debt for me, and I shared the deal with him 50/50. Neither one of us put money down, and the properties all cash flow, net of vacancies and maintenance, a minimum of $300 a month. There has also been a tremendous amount of appreciation over the years. The houses have more than doubled in value!

No matter what your strategy in real estate, partners can help you reach your potential. They can provide anything that you are lacking to get deals closed. I have a great deal of respect for partnerships because I think they are necessary, but I also think they can be the worst decision ever made.